Glen Burnie coach Bob Broccolino couldn't remember the last time his team had beaten Chesapeake. Maybe it was 1989, the year the Gophers won the Class 4A state championship. All he knew for sure was there were plenty of frustration.
Yesterday almost became another one of those times.
Third-ranked Chesapeake rallied for three unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and had the winning run at the plate, but the top-ranked Gophers escaped with a 6-4 victory in Pasadena.
The Cougars (3-1) sent up eight batters in the last inning against Glen Burnie pitcher Denise Warren. With runners on the corners, she retired Michele Singer on a ground ball to second to end the game.
"Chesapeake is going to keep coming back at you," said Broccolino, whose team had 13 hits off three pitchers. "We could have easily panicked, but we stayed together."
Glen Burnie (4-0) took advantage of some shoddy fielding by Chesapeake and its own hitting to lead, 6-0, after three innings. Chris Napora singled in a run in the first and led off the third with a home run to left-center field. Warren had an RBI single in the second, and another run scored that inning on a wild pitch by Cougars starter Katie Ochs.
Jennifer Brukiewa had an RBI single in the third, and two more runs came in on an error.
Chesapeake made four errors in the first three innings, and only two of the Gophers' runs were earned.
"Being an inexperienced team, they made some mistakes, but they learned from them and tightened it up," said coach Dennis Thiele. "His team won the first three innings, then we came back and won the last four."
Ochs threw 57 pitches in three innings, allowing eight hits and two earned runs. She was replaced by Niki Carpenter, who threw a scoreless fourth but had to leave the game after being hit on the palm of her right hand while catching a line drive from Samantha Miller for the final out.
Carpenter had been hit on the index finger of her right hand in her last start against Arundel Monday.
Freshman Michelle Henderson, called up from the junior varsity earlier this week, worked the last three innings yesterday and escaped a couple of jams. She gave up four hits and struck out Napora looking with two on to end the sixth.
Warren (2-0) allowed seven hits, including a triple by Jennifer Fowlkes in the fifth, and one earned run. She walked three and struck out four.
The Cougars scored in the fourth on three singles.
Both teams had a runner thrown out at the plate in the first inning. Singer got Napora from right field, and Warren scooped up a bunt by Fowlkes and tagged out Tami Barrington. Missy Silvers threw out Warren trying to score from third after a one-out triple in the sixth.
Silvers walked to open the bottom of the seventh, and after a strikeout, Barrington singled down the left-field line. A dropped throw at first loaded the bases, and Fowlkes hit a sharp grounder to the left side that Napora knocked down. Miller, playing shortstop, raced over to field the ball and stepped on third as a run scored.
Warren fielded a bouncer by Ochs and threw wildly to first, letting two runs score.